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Building a Van Bed With Crafted Workshop

Have you ever wanted to go out and take a road trip without having to get a hotel? How about camping without having to bring a tent? What if you’re just tired of being tied down to leases and not being able to move when you want? In collaboration with Johnny Brooke from Crafted Workshop, we have a build for you, that anyone with some woodworking experience can do themselves.

List of Tools You Need

Table Saw Sander
Miter Saw Glue Gun
Clamps Wood Glue
Impact Driver Track Saw
Hammer Drill Brad Nailer
Pocket Hole Machines Countersink bit

List of Materials You Need

(1) 2”x8”x16’ (can be substituted for 2×4) 30” long piano hinges x 2
12” x 24” HDPE sheet 1” brad nails
(2) 4’x8’ sheets of ½” plywood Sandpaper/ pads
(7) 2”x2”x10’ boards 1-¼” screws
2-¼” Structural Screws Barrel Bolt

Phase 1: Building the Rails

Step 1:

The first thing to create for the bed is the rails which support the platform. Made out of 8 foot long 2×8, first step is to rip the board in half at the table saw. (Tip: If you don’t have a table saw, you could use 2×4’s here.) Also include a cross support rail to maintain, add as many as you need to have good support.

After ripping the boards to width, cut them to their final length at the miter saw. Take note of any curves in the vehicle as you lay down the platform and cut any edges necessary so that it can clear the walls. In this project, they were cut to 80” long.

Step 2:

To reduce wear on the rails and to also help the bed platform slide when sliding into couch mode, line the top edge with HDPE. Using a table saw cut the sheets into 1 ½” wide strip to match the width of the rails.

Install the strips on the top of the rails using countersunk 1” screws. It is essential that the screw heads are below the surface of the HDPE so that the bed platform can slide without catching.

Phase 2: Installing the Rails

Step 3:

First, measure up from the floor and mark a line. You can’t check for level since the ground is almost never level. Instead, reference other points in the van.

After making the lines, install the rails using 2-¼” structural screws, adding two screws in each furring strip. The final piece is to add to the rails is to add some stops on the front to keep the bed platform from sliding off. The stops are to prevent the mattress from falling off from couch mode to bed mode.

Phase 3: Making the Bed

Step 4:

The platform is a simple framework of 2×2’s covered in ½” plywood. (Tip from Johnny: 2×4’s add a little more rigidity.)

After cutting the 2×2’s to size mark out the spacing of the 2x2s on the longer pieces and then attach them using 2” screws through each joint. Since the bed frame is created using two individual frame sections, use a hinge in the middle to keep them connected.

Once done, rip the ½” plywood to width to match the frames at the table saw. (Tip: If you don’t have a table saw you can get your home center to make the cuts for you.)

With the panels cut to their final size attach them to the frames using wood glue and 1” brad nails using a brad nailer. After the glue dries, break the edges with a sander to make them less sharp, and then move the platforms into your vehicle.

To attach the two-panel use two 30” long piano hinges and use 1” screws. The system used two pulleys and attached into the furring strips using 1-¼” screws.

Phase 4: Checking Your Work.

Step 5:

After verifying the system works, you need to add some upright supports for the back of the platform when it is in couch mode. Add HDPE strips to help reduce wear when moving.

Phase 5: Safe and Secure

Step 6:

To keep the platform from moving around when the vehicle is moving in either mode or while driving. Add a barrel bolt at each end of the front platform, drill one set of holes for the barrel bolt in the position where the platform would be when in bed mode. Then drill another set of holes to lock the platform in place when it’s in couch mode.

To prevent your mattress from sliding off add a cleat to the front of the rail to keep it from happening.

With that, the bed is done!


But what do you do with the space underneath the bed? You could leave it empty but why not use that space for storage. Johnny has also crafted a few steps to make the space under the bed a useful area for storing mountain bikes. But if you aren’t a biker, you can still use the same these same steps for your hobby item of choice.

What Things Are You Storing?

Step 1:

First figure out the exact height you have to work with under the bed. You can use a rail system for easy access to your stuff. Find the highest point of the item and make sure it clears the underside of the bed.

Step 2:

Cut to your desired sizes, making sure that you have a few inches of clearance between the top of your item and your bed.

Step 3:

Assemble by using screws and waterproof wood glue. Once built apply a protective coating to the tray, preventing any unnecessary stains.

Next Step Has a Pre-Requisite That Your Van Has the Floor Installed.

Step 4:

For the slide-out rack, it is attached to the van’s floor, and this part of the drawer is at fixed space. Secure them with corner braces at every couple of inches to transfer the load from the tray to the van.

Step 5:

Attach the slides to the tray then place the tray on the floor with 3/8” plywood sheet (or piece of wood that is 3/8”) underneath. By having the wood underneath you have a gap between the tray and the van’s floor to ensure no rubbing while sliding the rack in and out. Screw in the structure to the slides and then secure it to the floor.


Did you find this build useful? Would you want to try something like this in your own van one day? Let us know in the comment section down below and any ideas you have for your van bed build.

Need the tools from this video? Get them all at acmetools.com and follow acmetools.com/blog for the latest tool news and other fun builds like this.

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